Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Victor Man, inspired by the first and second of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies.
The obscurity in which Victor Man’s images live is thus not just the condition that allows light to progressively appear. In fact, this obscurity is also the transitional space in which the artist is able to abandon the modernist paradigm according to which painting consists of autonomy and the picture is a place where support and language explore only their own limits and possibilities, with no intention to resemble reality. Instead, this obscurity in which Man’s paintings are immersed, is a place of extreme osmosis, where images and abstractions cohabit, in which the everyday and the fantastic blend together, and the autobiographical experience of the artist communicates with art history, while the feminine and masculine, the human and the animal intermingle.
Here, darkness is the condition that enables the coexistence of multiple transitions between meaning and identity, a condition that allows us to contemplate the human existence in all its complexity and its continuous mutation: what appears humble can become sacred, while a gesture of tenderness can hurt; the monstrous can prove to be miraculous and the commonplace can free all its potential mystery. This dynamism of things and appearances originates precisely in that form of vision that might be defined as “partial” and that characterizes Victor Man’s painting. It is a kind of withholding that takes a long time to open up and calls forth a time that is equally distant. There is an archaic quality to Victor Man’s painting that is not limited to the nearly total absence of references to contemporariness, but absorbs in a more radical manner a sentiment and desire for our time.1
Victor Man was born in 1974 and lives in Berlin, Germany and Cluj, Romania. He has been the subject of a number of solo exhibitions at museums worldwide including, most recently: Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; Haus der Kunst, Munich; National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; Villa Medici, Rome. Man has also been included in a number of group exhibitions including: “These Strangers…Painting and People,” S.M.A.K., Ghent, BE; The New Frontiers of Painting, Fondazione Stelline, Milan; Thinking Out Loud: Notes For An Evolving Collection, The Warehouse, Dallas; the 56th Biennale di Venezia; “Six Lines of Flight: Shifting Geographies in Contemporary Art,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; La Triennale, “Intense Proximity,” Palais de Tokyo, Paris; “Tanzimat,” Augarten Contemporary, Belvedere Museum, Vienna, Austria; “Foreigners Everywhere,” Jewish Museum, Vienna; “Whose (His)story,” Kunstverein, Hamburg, Germany; “Back to Black,” Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover, Germany.
1Alessandro Rabottini, “Icarus with No Sun," Victor Man: Szindbád. Published by Hatje Cantz, 2014.